Andy Bedard credits his start to basketball to his father and his uncle, who were able to sneak a young Bedard onto third and fourth grade basketball teams when he was just a kindergartener. 

Learning from “old-school Celtics fans,” Bedard was able to learn the fundamentals of the game early — passing, defense, and getting his teammates involved — even when his personal skills rose above his competition’s. 

Andy Bedard drives to the hoop during Mountain Valley High School’s state title run in 1994. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

At Mountain Valley High School, Bedard soared to greatness early, packing his home gym in Rumford whenever his traveling show played at home as well as on the road in surrounding towns like Jay, Turner and Dixfield. 

The Falcons were one of the most popular teams heading into the 1993-94 season, Bedard’s junior year, and were feeling the hype. Mountain Valley started the campaign with a loss, a sudden halt to the excitement surrounding the season, which was followed by coach Matt Kaubris making the Falcons run for three practices without touching a ball. The appreciation for the season came into focus after, and Bedard’s team ran the table the rest of the year. 

“We started to win games and it would snowball. We would go on the road and get more fans on the road rooting for us,” Bedard said. “It was a really cool season, getting a state championship was special. I didn’t know it would be my last season there until after the season. I thought I might have had another year but it was special for my other friends going out with a state title.”

Bedard’s 53-point performance, an all-class state championship record that still stands, in the 1994 Class B title game capped off a legendary Mountain Valley career. Bedard went on to play at Maine Central Institute his senior year, then two years at Boston College before transferring to the University of Maine for his last two college years. His success at all levels helped Bedard get inducted into the 2021 Maine Basketball Hall of Fame class in just his first year of eligibility. 

“It was my first year, same thing with T.J. Caouette and there was a nice article on him in the Sun Journal; I loved that he mentioned his coach,” Bedard said. “I think it was Amy Vachon’s first year being able to get in, as well. It’s an honor and a great class in general. The fact that I go in with a close friend (Caouette) is icing on the cake.”

Bedard knows now how impactful his Mountain Valley years were as he looks back on his career.

“Just with that small mill town, not a lot going on, not a lot of positive extracurricular things going on, so going to the gym was a really big thing to do for the high school and elementary school kids,” Bedard said. “It was something the town had a chance to get involved in and it’s one of those things that going back I probably didn’t appreciate at the time. I was just a 16-year-old kid, but it makes me proud to be a part of that as I look back.”

When Bedard left the Falcons for MCI, he wanted to challenge himself after a huge state title game and reaching the mountain top of Maine high school basketball. 

“It was a great year, a great run and a lot of my friends were in that class so it was fun,” Bedard said. “I think from a competition standpoint the best chance for me to get a scholarship was to play against that next-level talent. The Mountain Valley Conference treated me well but I wanted something to keep me sharp. I thought I might get complacent my senior year at Mountain Valley playing Class B after doing what we did. Coach Max Good at MCI, if you know anything about him, I could have had 30 points and 30 rebounds but he would find something and ream me out, so it felt like that was the best situation for me to move onto after my junior year.”

After MCI, Bedard went to BC before transferring to the University of Maine. At UMaine, Bedard had to sit out a year before he could play, so he and his friend from BC, Nate Fox, who also transferred, worked out every day getting ready for their moment in the spotlight in Orono. That year not playing competitive basketball is what sticks out to Bedard the most. 

After leading Mountain Valley to a state championship in 1994, Andy Bedard spent two seasons at Boston College and then played his junior and senior seasons at the University of Maine. Submitted photo

“I think about my buddy Nate Fox, who passed away tragically five or six years ago, and the special time I had with him,” Bedard said. “I remember that sit-out year where we weren’t practicing with the team. We weren’t traveling so basically all we were doing were individual workouts and lifts. We spent so much time together, driving through snowstorms and working out in gyms because that was our job. All the work we put in and just the anticipation of playing, I wish I was in that shape again so I could appreciate it. Just how much fun that was and not realizing how lucky we were that our jobs were to work on our game.”

Another prominent figure from his time with UMaine was his head coach, John Giannini. 

Mountain Valley High School graduate Andy Bedard plays for the University of Maine in November 1998. Submitted photo

Giannini was a mentor to Bedard and the two still talk often. 

“The less important part is his basketball impact, which was enormous,” Giannini said. “He spearheaded the turnaround in our Maine program, he led us to the best record and team in Maine basketball history. We had a lot of good players on the team but his leadership and the fact that he drew all those talented players to Maine are indisputable factors in our success. He was off the charts as a leader, teammate and player.”

“After his playing days I’ve grown far closer to him,” Giannini added. “I think he’s a wonderful father, husband and friend… We talk all the time and I love following the success of his son Kaden and his outstanding teammates on the extremely good AAU team they play on. We have a lifelong bond and it started with his phenomenal leadership and playing ability and it’s grown into a lot more.”

Bedard was a two-time second-team All-New England selection in his two years at UMaine and was a first-team All America East pick his senior year, in which the Black Bears won 24 games. 

“I remember in my last game we sold out the Alfond Arena and that’s unheard of,” Bedard said. “It was just a great situation. Coach John Giannini was an unbelievable coach and we got Maine on the map for a little bit.”

Andy Bedard, left, poses with his son, Kaden, who is holding an AAU basketball trophy. Submitted photo


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